In a press conference today, Shirley Sherrod, who looked visibly weak, shaken-up, and at the brink of tears, declined the position of deputy director of outreach and advocacy which was offered to her by USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack.
Sherrod was forced to resign from the USDA last month after conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, released an edited video of Sherrod which misrepresented her position on racial tolerance and made it appear as though she was discriminating against a White farmer.
Vilsack and President Obama apologized to Sherrod and appealed to her to return to work at the department. But Sherrod declined the new position and her old job as Georgia director of regional development. “The secretary did push really hard for me to stay and work from inside, but I look at what happened to me,” she said at a news conference with Vilsack. “I know he’s apologized, and I accept it. A new process is in place, but I don’t want to test it.”
“I enjoyed my work at USDA. I only lasted 11 months [in government], but I did enjoy that work, and would want to see that work continue. I just don’t think at this point with all that has happened, I can do that either in the new position that was offered or as state director for rural development in Georgia,” said Sherrod.
Although Sherrod turned down the positions with USDA, she made it clear that she continues to work. “I haven’t stopped working. In my work, people come to me all the time for help on various issues,” Sherrod said. “I’ll never stop doing that right up until the day I die because I have a commitment. For a while, I need a break.”
After taking a break, Sherrod hopes to write a book and respond to some requests for speaking engagements. Wow, she must have read my mind. Click on the link below to read my post on why Sherrod’s resignation from the USDA may actually turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.
Although Vilsack has admitted fault in Sherrod’s ouster, he is still employed. Many wonder why Obama has not offered Vilsack an opportunity to resign – just as he offered Sherrod. But, these things take time. Remember Desiree Rogers and the White House gate crashers? Out of respect for Rogers, the President waited until the dust settled and the story died before he fired her – oops, asked her to “step down”. Vilsack will probably meet the same fate.
Related post: Shirley Sherrod should make lemonade